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Using the phone to pay for bus rides

Singaporean commuters experiment with wireless payment.

Crave Asia

As part of a public experiment, some commuters in Singapore need only tap their mobile phones for bus and train fares.

They're part of the Near-Field Communication (NFC) phone trial jointly organized by Singapore service provider StarHub and partner EZ-Link. According to the press release, the trial is the first public NFC trial in the Republic and possibly one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Since the middle of last week, 1,000 selected trialists have been given a handset from Singapore phone manufacturer iWOW and a Sony PaSoRi card reader (EZ-Link card reader) which they can use for the next six months for free.

The iWOW SZ1.0 phone contains two chips. The EZ-Link chip, which can be used for payment of rides on public buses and trains or to make purchases at selected retail outlets such as McDonald's and 7-Eleven, works like a regular EZ-Link card. One added advantage of using an NFC handset is that their value can be checked instantly using the phone's LCD.

The second chip, which is an NFC-enabled processor, lets you download promotional materials or useful information such as bus route details via GPRS from smart tags embedded in selected posters. StarHub is working with several partners for this service, among them the Land transport Authority, Citibank, Golden Village and Sony retail outlets.

(Source: Crave Asia)